How do you give credit to the outside sources you read for writing a paper?

What’s it called when you bring in a secondary source to the body of your paper to make or support an idea and to prevent plagiarism?   Well, there are several names for that process that all pretty much mean the same thing:

Parenthetical Citation

Otherwise Known as In Paper Citations

Commonly Called Citing Sources in Your Paper

Also Called Providing Documentation or Giving Credit to the Original Author

How do you give credit to the outside sources you read for writing a paper? 

How do you give credit to the outside sources you read for writing a paper?  The process is called one of the underlined terms above.  Pick your poison.  When you write for an English class, you include outside sources in a particular format, called MLA (Modern Language Association) format.  The MLA format is a system of integrating citations that uses a “signal phrase” at the beginning and usually page numbers in parenthesis at the ends of sentences where you’ve cited or borrowed/used a source/someone else’s idea.  You provide parenthetical citation in the following circumstances:

A.        When you use a direct quote.

B.        When you paraphrase a specific idea

C.        When you summarize/paraphrase a specific idea

  • When you generally refer to the work, but don’t quote, summarize or paraphrase a specific idea, you still name the author and the title.

Please note that when you summarize, you have to paraphrase as well.  However, it’s possible to paraphrase a sentence or two without summarizing.   

A direct quote is word-for-word passage of the text.  Be careful to adhere to the exact wording.  Don’t put words in quotes that aren’t there. 

  • In Ways of Coping with Depression, Tom Jones exclaims, “The first significant aspect for change is self awareness.  No one can make the depressed person aware.  It’s up to that individual” (234).

A paraphrase is putting a specific passage into your own words.  Be careful not to add innuendo to the passage.  Try to stay as close to the original idea as you can.

  • Jones writes that it’s probably human nature to try and help someone you love recognize that he or she is depressed; however, it’s more essential that the individual comes to that realization on their own (234).

A summary condenses only the main points of a longer passage into your own words.  Substituting the words for the outside source into your own words is the definition of a paraphrase. 

  • In the conclusion of Ways of Coping with Depression, the author stresses the role loved ones play in the intervention of depressed people.  The book uses many examples from research studies to show how the partner or friend of a depressed person can be of most assistance.  Too much intervention can cause the depressed person to further suppress his or her feelings.  One of the best ways to be supportive of someone who is depressed is to first take care or yourself (Jones 234-236).

When you refer to the whole work in general you do not need page numbers.

  • In Ways of Coping with Depression, Tom Jones gives important information to people who want to be effective at giving support to someone they know who is depressed. 

Make sure to properly identify what kind of title you are referencing.  If you’re referring to a book, magazine or newspaper, underline the title.  Articles or essays from the web, newspaper articles, and magazine or journal articles all get put in “quotations”. 

  • Norton Anthology of Fiction               “The Old Man and the Sea”
    • Newsweek                                           “The New Energy Crisis”
    • Star Tribune                                        “Minneapolis Hit by Hail”